Rein in the cosmetic surgery cowboys: NHS chief calls for new laws to protect patients

  • Review by Sir Bruce Keogh warns of lack of controls on certain procedures
  • His report has said the practice was a ‘crisis waiting to happen’
  • Review calls for compulsory registration and better training in industry
  • Also demands banning ‘distasteful’ cut-price deals and offers
  • Celebrity culture’s ‘hidden advertising’ said to ‘trivialise’ procedures

Fiona Macrae

18:09 EST, 23 April 2013


06:50 EST, 24 April 2013

Medical director Sir Bruce Keogh is calling for new laws to overhaul the booming £2.3billion cosmetic surgery sector

Medical director Sir Bruce Keogh is calling for new laws to overhaul the booming £2.3billion cosmetic surgery sector

Patients turning to cosmetic surgery must be protected from cowboy surgeons and dangerous treatments, said the head of the NHS.

Medical director Sir Bruce Keogh is calling for new laws to overhaul the booming £2.3billion sector, with the first as early as next year.

One procedure singled out for criticism was the use of fillers, which have soared in popularity.

These injections plump up the skin, fill in wrinkles and crow’s feet to create younger-looking cheeks and lips.

A review led by Sir Bruce warned that filler jabs were subject to ‘no more controls than a bottle of floor cleaner’. Some patients suffered  disfigurement, bruising and blindness.

‘The most striking thing is that anybody, at any time, anywhere, can give a filler to anybody else and that’s bizarre,’ said Sir Bruce.

His report said the practice was a ‘crisis waiting to happen’.

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, who sat on the review, said: ‘We want proper professional requirements. This is not “inject oranges and get a certificate”. This is proper training.’

The committee also called for a crackdown on the ‘hidden advertising’ of plastic surgery, including TV shows such as The Only Way is Essex which ‘trivialise’ the procedures.

Amy Childs attends The Phillips British Academy Awards 2011

British celebrity Katie Price poses for a photograph during the media

Celebrity culture: Health officials say programmes such as The Only way is Essex (pictured left, Amy Childs) had turned cosmetic surgery into an ‘everyday product’. Model Katie Price (right) has had many procedures

A register of breast implant patients must be set up within the next 12 months, it added. This follows the PIP scandal in which thousands of women were given sub-standard products.

The key demands of the review are:

  • Compulsory registration and better training of all those in the industry, from beauty therapists to breast surgeons.
  • Banning ‘distasteful’ cut-price deals, buy-one-get one-free offers and plastic surgery competition prizes.
  • Insurance for clinics, a cooling off period and information for patients about the success rates of surgeons.
  • Facial fillers to be prescription only.


Former glamour model Alicia Douvall, who has had 308 cosmetic treatments, believes there should be tighter regulation in the industry

Sir Bruce said: ‘At the heart of this report is the person who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure.We have heard terrible reports about a person who has trusted a cosmetic practitioner but, when things have gone wrong, have been left high and dry. These people have not had the safety net that those using the NHS have. This needs to change.’

His report said the rules have been outstripped by the booming sector, which increased five-fold in value from 2005-2010 to £2.3billion.

Pat Dunion, of Transform, Britain’s biggest plastic surgery group, said the cost of training and registration would force some cowboy clinics to close.

The Royal College of Surgeons called on ministers to implement the  proposals ‘without delay’.

Rajiv Grover, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic  Surgeons, said making fillers prescription-only would regulate which ones come onto the market, who can inject them and ban their advertising.

Condemned, the Towie effect

The comments below have not been moderated.

the NHS chief is saying this because its the NHS that puts things right when you get a cheap bodge job ……i said it before on here…..if u want something done go to a PRIVATE hospital with proper care and regulated doctors….if you dont youre an idiot

daves wife

hampshire, United Kingdom,
24/4/2013 09:41

I guess it is up to the individual if they want’work’done,be it surgery or fillers,botox etc. However,what totally blows me away is not doing thorough research first,and saving hard(if you need to)to be able to afford the best. I would no more go to a’walk in’beauty place for a procedure,at a beautician or a dentist surgery,than I would trust my butcher to to do my dry cleaning ! Why would you ? You only get one face for gods sake,unless you’re Joan Rivers ! I am 50,and had a nose job and breast reduction,both 20 years ago. I would have liked them before that,but it took me a long time to save the money. I met both surgeons beforehand,saw photos of their work(before and after) and was offered the opportunity to call the patients if I wanted reassurance. People want everything NOW today and then are surprised when it comes back to bite them on the bum.

susie m

24/4/2013 09:37

Just the sight of Joan Rivets should be enough to put anyone off injecting themselves with fillers. There are alternatives to Botox, I use facial patches which work a treat and are not expensive. Opt for a natural solution which has been round over 120 years !


24/4/2013 09:29

People who are both vain enough and wealthy enough to afford cosmetic surgery in these hard times deserve all they get. There’s no cure for stupidity.


24/4/2013 09:04

Just make sure that if anyone needs NHS treatment following plastic surgery or such like the cost is paid for by the cosmetic surgery company who did the procedure,


24/4/2013 08:36

The NHS chief is saying this? I hope none of these procedures are avilable on the NHS.


Rayong Thailand,
24/4/2013 08:23

Botox isn’t a filler DM it’s designed to weaken muscles so they don’t work so well which is why they have frozen looking faces.


The Village,
24/4/2013 08:15

The photo of that young woman getting ready to have her lips pumped up. Gawde I couldn’t stand to have a needle put into my lips.


Pennsylvania, United States,
24/4/2013 07:50

If botox isn’t a filler then what is it?. Myself I think it’s better to grow old gracefully. Besides cosmetic surgery doesn’t last long, It doesn’t last 15 years as people would have you believe. Joan Rivers has had so many facelifts that her eyes are almost at the back of her head.


Pennsylvania, United States,
24/4/2013 07:48

I have worked with one fo the uk top botox guys in clinics for past clients. Some people would ask about the price, and although he was not expensive and as a company they had a standard structure. Over the years I found more and more peole say… oh I can get it done cheaper than that. And off they go. Yeah and I would rarely see a good resutl from these cheaper doctors. More doctors at your local surgery do it as they see pound signs, but really would NOT say not to a patient. My guy does and would, he would NOT give some some a frozen face, and if they went off to someone else and then tried to come back to him. They couldn’t. And he treats some very famous people. But not the ones that look daft! You will always get people in any profession that can’t do their job porperly. Trouble is with this one is that any bad results you are wearing on your face. People don’t read the aftercare or listen to any risks with any treatments, be it waxing or surgery.


24/4/2013 07:29

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